Sen. Bennet Keeps Moderate Stance At Fort Collins Town Hall
Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., spoke to a sympathetic crowd of about 150 people at Colorado State University May 19. He touched on everything from school vouchers to health care and the future of the Democratic Party.
“Our message last time did not capture a whole lot of people in this country that were looking for a change, looking for a view that their government be more responsive to them and were expecting more, and we gotta figure out a way to answer that,” Senator Bennet said.
He drew on his experience as the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools to blast Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her support of vouchers, calling her a ‘disaster.’
“What she’s for -- she’s an ideologue, that is what she is. I do not support vouchers. There is no evidence that anybody gets a better education with a voucher. That’s not an answer to a kid who lives in a rural school district and who can’t take his voucher down the street,” Bennet said.
Bennet also reiterated his stance against hydraulic fracturing bans on a federal level after being asked about the safety of oil and gas extraction in light of a home explosion caused by a natural gas line in Firestone, Colorado, that killed two people and severely injured another in April 2017.
“We need to do it [oil and gas extraction] in a way that protects our air and protects our water,” Bennet said.
“There is nothing that has moved us more quickly away from coal burning power plants than cheap natural gas," he said. "I certainly understand people who are for banning fracking. I don’t think it’s safe, but people should also understand, that could result in more coal being burned. I think it’s important in all of these questions to be guided by the science.”
Bennet slammed the American Health Care Act, calling it a "tax cut for the richest Americans masquerading as a health care bill. It's a $880 billion cut to Medicaid Masquerading as a health care bill."
Robbie Latos is retired and lives in Fort Collins. After the event he said he wanted more pushback from the audience.
“I think unfortunately probably most of the people in this room are probably Democrats, but it would be really interesting if there had been a few Republicans here going up to the microphone challenging him," he said. "That being said, good for us for having these town hall meetings.”
David Lehman, a retired physician, was encouraged to hear Bennet share his view that Medicare should be able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies even though he didn’t get to ask him a question.
“I liked especially the approach of drawing names out of a hat as to who got to ask their questions," he said. "I think that level of willingness to take whatever question a citizen comes to ask is something that he should be applauded for.”
Prior to the event, Bennet also commented on the news that former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is on the short-list to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. He said he’d prefer to have someone with more experience in the role.
“I think it would be far better to have a professional law enforcement person in that job or someone who’s been a U.S. attorney before, or somebody – I mean look at the credentials of the guy, of Comey. He was a U.S. attorney, he was the deputy attorney general,” Bennet said.
Bennet also held town hall meetings in Boulder and Denver.